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Bible returned to Utah school district after being banned for 'vulgarity or violence'
Image iva UTV 2 News Salt Lake City / YouTube (screenshot)

Bible returned to Utah school district after being banned for 'vulgarity or violence'

A Utah school district that removed the King James version of the Bible from several of its elementary and middle schools unanimously voted to reinstate it, according to CNN.

The removal was made on the grounds that the Bible contained "vulgarity or violence" after a petition was made in response to state law that resulted in the removal of many books containing sexual content from Davis School District libraries. 60 books have been reviewed by the district, with 37 books having been fully removed from all levels of education and a partial removal of 14 others.

Within days of the Bible removals in early June 2023, the district reportedly received multiple appeal requests, a district spokesperson said. The board ultimately found that the Bible provides significant, serious value for minors that outweighs the violent or vulgar content it contains, the spokesperson explained.

School board President Liz Mumford, who voted to reinstate the Bible, said that she believes it "has serious literary, artistic, historical, and political value for minors.”

The state law at the source of the controversy states that if a parent has made a formal request, schools must remove books that contain:

  • "Human genitals in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal";
  • "Acts of human masturbation or sexual intercourse";
  • "[or] fondling or other erotic touching of human genitals or pubic region."

It became apparent that many of the books in the district's libraries contained vulgar and sexually explicit materials that were not appropriate for minors. Republican state Rep. Ken Ivory presented a slideshow to lawmakers in October 2022 that provided examples of such materials.

One book available to junior high school students showed lesbians performing oral sex on each other. Another book for high school students was about being "gender queer" and depicted two men giving each other oral sex.

The presentation also featured evidence that one high school library in the district hosted a “Banned Books Week" with signage that read "Find out why these books have been banned in other places (but not in Davis County)!” One of the books on that display described a 10-year-old boy having sexual relations with an adult.

Rep. Ivory had remarked that characterizing removing some books as book-banning is really "an attempt to simply, you know, hyperbolize what's going on; we're simply clarifying age-appropriate limits."

“I recognize that our policy could use some refinements and improvements," the school board president added.

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